Committee funds controlled by the city’s 50 aldermen contain more than eight million dollars, with Ald. Ed Burke (14), Ald. Brendan Reilly (42), and Ald. Walter Burnett(27) controlling the biggest war chests as of the most recent reporting period. Details of all 77 committees are on this spreadsheet, with links to D-2s for the first quarter of 2016, spanning January 1 through March 31, 2016.
Last quarter’s most successful fundraisers were involved in tight campaigns. Ald. Michelle Harris (8), who lost her bid for Clerk of the Circuit Court against incumbent Dorothy Brown and Jacob Meister, reported close to $200,000 in individual contributions to her Clerk campaign committee for the most recent quarter, though her spending, as we detail below, didn’t help her chances. Ald. Brendan Reilly (42) who supported state legislature hopeful Jay Travis with mailers against Rep. Christian Mitchell, reported about $275,000 in total receipts for the quarter.
Reilly and Ald. Pat Dowell (3) both supported Juliana Stratton in her successful bid against Rep. Ken Dunkin. Dowell spent $122,000 last quarter, including on printing services and consulting.
Some committee funds took big hits this past quarter, not all due to campaign spending. Ald. Brian Hopkins’ (2) committee took a $68,000 hit in its final fund tally that wasn’t campaign related. He made $30,000 in principal payments to himself, and also paid staff and consultants. Ald. Ed Burke (14) also ended the quarter down by about $120,000, which didn’t put much of a dent in the $2.1 million account balance. Ald. Danny Solis (25) also ended the quarter down by about $50,000. His committee spent thousands on food (including many Costco trips), parking meter costs, $15,000 to New Chicago Consulting, and on a $10,000 contribution to Friends of Anita Alvarez.
Citizens for Pat Dowell (3) spent close to $125,000 in the first quarter of 2016, mostly on campaign work and advertisements. A sizable chunk, nearly $40,000, went to campaign work provided by Bamani Obadele. In 2011, Obadele, an Illinois Department of Children and Family Services appointee under Gov. Rod Blagojevich, was sentenced to half a year in prison for steering and pocketing DCFS money to companies in which he held a stake, and using some of that money for a trip to Jamaica.
Citizens for Michelle Harris, the committee for Ald. Harris’ (8) run for Clerk of the Circuit Court, spent $379,450 this past quarter. More than half, about $225,000, went toward printing and postage from Breaker Press. $7,200 was paid to Loren Harris, the alderman’s daughter, for “contract work.” Harris also paid $30,000 in early February for a poll from Tulchin Research, a San Francisco-based firm.
Ald. Brendan Reilly’s (42) committees, Citizens for Alderman Reilly and the 42nd Ward Democratic Org, spent a combined $310,000 last quarter. Reilly paid $7,500 to his former special assistant, Melissa Hoffman, for consulting work, as well as $25,000 each to LBH Chicago LLC and VX Consulting. LBH is also counts Cong. Robin Kelly and State Rep. Ann Williams as current clients.
Ald. Ed Burke’s (14) Friends of Ed Burke committee paid exactly $61,000 for federal and $21,000 for state taxes last quarter, per its expenditure reports. That’s not counting quarterly estimated taxes and an additional $5,100 paid out of Burke’s Burnham Committee. About $24,000 total was spent between the “Friends” committee and another Burke-controlled committee, the 14th Ward Regular Democratic Org, on gifts from Bentley Consulting Services. Burke also spent about $13,000 on printing services from Rider Dickerson.
Odds and Ends
More than half the committees run by aldermen owe debt, ranging from $1,000 – $5,000 for aldermen like Leslie Hairston (5), Anthony Beale (9), Mike Zalewski (23) –to the $20-$30,000 range like Ald. Gilbert Villegas (36), Ald. Scott Waguespack (32), and Ald. Michele Smith (43). Many are personal debt or from colleagues’ campaign committees. But Ald. Howard Brookins (21) takes the cake, with about $320,000 of debt between three campaign committees. The bulk, $317,000 worth, is from his Friends of Howard B Brookins, Jr committee, and dates back to 2007 and 2008. Brookins owes $125,000 to IPA Travel Services, LLC, close to $50,000 each to John E. Davis and John Davis Montgomery, more than $45,000 to the Competence Group of Chicago, Inc., and $25,000 to attorney Larry Rogers Sr.
Only two aldermen have invested committee funds – Ald. Tom Tunney (44) and Ald. Ed Burke (14). Tunney has about $192,000 invested at MB Financial. But like much else, Burke does it bigger, investing a whopping $6 million: about $3.1 million in Credit Suisse, and $2.9 million in Northern Trust.
The 43rd Ward’s new Democratic Committeeman, Lucy Moog, will inherit a nice nest egg. The 43rd Ward Democrats fund, managed by Ald. Michele Smith, ended the quarter $36,000 up from the previous one, and has a balance of more than $100,000.
Ald. Pat O’Connor had some of the highest in-kind contributions to his committee for the quarter, at more than $10,000. Most of those contributions were donated gifts fit for a raffle or auction, including diamond and sapphire jewelry, White Sox tickets, Wrigley Field rooftop passes, and iPad Airs.
Ald. Ariel Reboyras (30) had nearly as many itemized as non-itemized expenditures.